Earlier this year, it was announced that Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie, and Ryan Seacrest would all be returning to American Idol for Season 4 (and the show's 19th season overall). But, fans were wondering whether Bobby Bones, who served as a mentor on the program, would also make a return. On Monday, American Idol officially announced that Bones is indeed coming back for the next season of the series, which is currently filming.
The show announced the news on Instagram, posting a photo of Bones back in action. They captioned the photo by writing, "We're thrilled to welcome back our mentor of many talents [Bobby Bones] to help guide our season 4 hopefuls." Their caption continued to note that they are currently in the audition phase of filming and that there will be nationwide casting calls over the course of October. Bones also addressed the news on Instagram by posting a video in which he spoke about his return to the competition. He noted in the caption for the video, "Made this for the folks at [American Idol] . But wanted to post it here too. Super pumped that I’m going back to American Idol for my 4th season. Appreciate you all. I woundnt be here without you guys !"
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Back in August, ABC revealed that its line-up for Season 4 of American Idol would stay intact, with Perry, Richie, and Bryan all returning as judges. Seacrest, who has been the host of the show since its first season, will also be back. At the time, ABC made no mention of whether Bones would be returning. Although, production sources did tell TV Line that American Idol was "still figuring out logistics for the upcoming season" and that there would be more news on that topic "very soon." ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke also released a statement in which she spoke about the singing competition's ability to be a bright light amidst a difficult time in the nation's history.
"American Idol has always been able to bring people together, entertain and inspire — and I am so proud of how this show continued to deliver joy and laughter into people’s homes during a time when we needed it the most," Burke said in a statement. "There is no one who we feel more confident about leading us into a new season of high notes than Luke, Katy, Lionel and the incomparable Ryan Seacrest." American Idol showrunner Trish Kinane added, "Katy, Lionel and Luke are fun, astute and really know how to spot talent. Their chemistry is undeniable, and we are delighted that they, along with host Ryan Seacrest, are returning to find the next superstar and take American Idol to new heights next season."